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FG shifts emphasis to better life for Nigerians

President Goodluck Jonathan during theopening of the Federal Executive Council Meeting WednesdayIn Abuja.

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA—The Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday, reviewed the administration’s seven-point agenda and declared that it is very much on course and will continue to guide the ministers on how they will achieve their mandates.

At a briefing at the end of the meeting at the State House, Abuja, Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, explained that the focus of government was on implementation, adding that emphasis is now being placed on “quality of life indicators.”

According to Akunyili, the government would henceforth gauge “how much investments, allocations or expenditures have affected the quality of life of Nigerians,” adding that such a method of assessment is used successfully in other developing countries like India and Malaysia.

She added that, “Significant amount of success has been achieved, not just success in spending money but in things that you may not easily see with the eyes. For example, the amnesty programme that has brought peace to the Niger Delta and the country is so valuable but you can’t readily quantify.”

Akunyili further explained that adherence to rule of law and electoral reforms have also been progressively successful “even though they are not like roads and bridges that you can easily see.”

The seven-point agenda has been the plank of the Umaru Yar’Adua’s government since he assumed power in May 2007 and even upon his death last month.

The agenda comprises Power and Energy; Food Security and Agriculture; Wealth Creation and Employment; Mass Transportation; Land Reform; Security; and Qualitative and Functional Education.

There have, however, been calls from several quarters that it should be pruned to a manageable size but government has insisted it would not do so.

According to Akunyili, on the overall, the seven-point agenda has recorded significant amount of successes.
“Take the case of the Niger Delta, what value do you put on the success of the Niger Delta amnesty programme? The programme is so valuable that it is being recorded as a major achievement in Nigeria.

“It has had significant impact on peace all over the Nigeria. The review is to enable us know we have to be on track and focus on the future.” She said the Minister of National Planning and Deputy Chairman of National Planning Commission, Mr. Shamsuddeen Usman, had appraised FEC of the 7-point Agenda Implementation Report produced by the  commission.
The report covers the activities and interventions under the seven key areas – critical infrastructure, human capital development, food security, Niger Delta development, land reform, security and rule of law and wealth creation – by the Federal Government of Nigeria from mid-2007 to December 2009.

She said, “The assessment gives a realistic picture of Federal Government’s efforts to mitigate Nigeria’s developmental challenges and set the economy on a higher pedestal for growth and development under the framework of the 7-Point Agenda.

“After consideration, Council commended the Minister of National Planning and approved the memo as a guide to Council members in working to achieve their respective mandate.”

She added that the review was started over a year ago. “And it is in line with our mandate to assess government programmes and mandates and present reports on them. It was an assessment focused on implementation. What we are talking about is the level of implementation. Generally, it is on all indicators but the focus is on the quality of life indicators.”

Meanwhile, the FEC which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan who just returned from a conference in Nice, France, considered other matters including a memo brought to the council by the Minister of Works, Senator Sanusi Daggash, seeking approval for the re-award of contract No.1793A for the dualisation of Ibadan-Illorin Road section II:Oyo –Ogbomosho in Oyo State.

Contract for the dualisation of Ibadan-Illorin road section II Oyo-Ogbomosho was initially awarded in favour of messrs P.W Nigeria Ltd and Messrs RCC Nigeria Ltd as a joint venture in 2003 in the sum of >14,300,000,000.00 only,with a completion period of 30 months.

The project could not commence due to inadequate budgetary provisions during the contract period between 2003 and 2009.

Owing to budgetary constraints, contract No.1793a had to be terminated in 2009 to pave the way for re-procurement of the contract.But now,there is a provision of N6,000,000,000.00 for thr project in the 2010 appriopriation Act.

Therefore, council considered and approved the re-award of contract No.1793A for the dualisation of Ibadan-Illorin Section,Oyo-Ogbomosho in Oyo State in favour of messrs RCC Nigeria Ltd in the sum of N47,504,138,344.20 with a completion period of 40 months.

The minister of works also brought another memo seeking approval for the augmentation of contract No.5960 for the construction of Kano western bye-pass in kano State .

The contract No.5960 was approved by council at its meeting of 25th April,2007,in favour of Messrs dantata and sawoe construction company Nigeria Ltd in the sum of N13,226,801,593.27 with a completion period of 36 months.

The project involves the construction of a 26 klm long standard dual carriageway linking Zaria with Katsina Road thus by-passing Kano metropolis,but will form part of the trans-Saharan route. There is a provision of N2.5 billion for the project in the 2010 Appropriation Act.

Council also considered and approved the same contract in the sum of N1,817,828,814.46 thereby revisiting the contract sum from N13,226,801,593.27  to N15,044,630,407.73 with a completion period of 36 months.


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